Atom Bombed Madonna- A WWII Miracle

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When the atom bomb “Fat Boy” devastated on the 9th of August 1945, one of the buildings reduced to rubble was the city’s Urakami cathedral — then among the largest churches in Asia.

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The blinding nuclear flash that would claim more than 70,000 lives in the city also, in an instant, blew out the stained glass windows of the church, toppled its walls, burnt its altar and melted its iron bell.

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But, in what local Christian followers have likened to a miracle, the head of a wooden Virgin Mary statue survived amid the collapsed columns and scorched debris of the Romanesque church flattened on August 9, 1945.

The appearance of the war-ravaged religious icon is haunting. The Madonna’s eyes have become scorched, black hollows, the right cheek is charred, and a crack runs like a streaking tear down her face.

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The remains of the statue of the Virgin Mary have found a new home inside a rebuilt church, also called St Mary’s, built on the same site, only 500 metres from the bomb’s ground zero.

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David And Perla Szumiraj-An Auschwitz Love story

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Amid the horrors of the Nazi death camps, somehow, some people managed to survive. One such couple is David Szumiraj and his wife Perla, who actually met in Auschwitz.

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David Szumiraj went to Auschwitz in late 1942. During his time there, he tended potato fields, where he worked near a young woman named Perla. The two weren’t allowed to speak, but when guards weren’t looking they made eye contact.

The shared glances were enough for the two to develop feelings for each other. Once they were able to talk for the first time, David says, “It was already inside us, the idea that we were a couple, that we were going to get married.” Their first conversation ended with their first kiss.

In January 1945, with Soviet forces approaching, the Nazis began moving prisoners. The evacuation of Auschwitz was one of the most notorious death marches in history, killing 15,000 people.

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After a week of passengers eating nothing but snow, David’s train was attacked by British planes. Weighing just 38 kilograms (83 lb), he survived by eating grass until American soldiers picked him up. Today, he still won’t eat lettuce.

David had no idea where Perla was. He sent a friend to a camp in Hamburg that housed lots of women—and she was there. The first David knew of his friend’s success was when Perla jumped out from behind a tree at the army base where David was staying.

They married, had a daughter, and decided to move to Argentina to be with some of David’s surviving family.

But getting to Argentina was not easy for Jews. Argentina’s government had supported the Nazis during the war, and had issued a secret order, effectively banning Jewish immigrants.

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To enter Argentina, many Jews said they were Catholic. For others, the only way in was to pay large bribes

They couldn’t afford the $20,000 immigration fees, so they had themselves smuggled into the country from Paraguay instead,so they went to neighbouring Paraguay, where they got in touch with people smugglers who would take them to Argentina. When they finally arrived in Buenos Aires, David’s family was waiting.

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Zyklon B

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Zyklon B:hydrogen cyanide adsorbed on or released from a carrier in the form of small tablets, used as an insecticidal fumigant.

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Even in their preferred choice of mass killing the Nazis used a poison which was originally designed to kill insects and other pests, and that is the clearest indication what they thought of their victims.

Hydrogen cyanide, a poisonous gas that interferes with cellular respiration, was first used as a pesticide in California in the 1880s.Research at Degesch(German Corporation for Pest control)  led to the development of Zyklon (later known as Zyklon A), a pesticide which released hydrogen cyanide upon exposure to water and heat.Zyklon_label_3

It was banned after a similar product was used by Germany as a chemical weapon in World War I. In 1922, Degesch was purchased by Degussa, where a team of chemists that included Walter Heerdt  and Bruno Tesch developed a method of packaging hydrogen cyanide in sealed canisters along with a cautionary eye irritant and adsorbent stabilizers.Bruno_Emil_Tesch

The new product was also named Zyklon, but it became known as Zyklon B to distinguish it from the earlier version. Uses included delousing clothing and disinfesting ships, warehouses, and trains.

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During the killing process, prisoners at Auschwitz and other killing centers were forced into the air-tight chambers that had been disguised by the Nazis to look like shower rooms. The Zyklon pellets were then dumped into the chambers via special air shafts or openings in the ceiling.

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The pellets would then vaporize, giving off a noticeable bitter almond odor. Upon being breathed in, the vapors combined with red blood cells, depriving the human body of vital oxygen, causing unconsciousness, and then death through oxygen starvation.It could take up to 20 minutes before the victims died.

Operation Carthage

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Operation Carthage, on 21 March 1945, was a British World War II air raid on Copenhagen, Denmark, which incurred significant collateral damage. The target of the raid was the Shellhus, used as Gestapo headquarters in the city centre. It was used for the storage of dossiers and the torture of Danish citizens during interrogations.

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The Danish Resistance had long asked the British to conduct a raid against this site. As a result, the building was destroyed, 18 prisoners were freed, and anti-resistance Nazi activities were disrupted. But, part of the raid was mistakenly directed against a nearby boarding school; it resulted in a total of 125 civilian deaths (including 86 schoolchildren and 18 adults at the school). A similar raid against the Gestapo headquarters in Aarhus, on 31 October 1944, had been successful.

The raid was to be carried out by de Havilland Mosquito fast-bomber aircraft, and thus it was that on the morning of 21 March, these aircraft took of in three waves of six along with two Mosquitoes that were to film the raid.

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The force left RAF Fersfield in the morning and it reached Copenhagen after 11:00. The raid was carried out at rooftop level. In the course of the initial attack, a Mosquito hit a lamp post, damaging its wing, and the plane crashed into the Jeanne d’Arc School, about 1.5 km (0.93 mi) from the target. Several bombers in the second and third wave attacked the burning school, mistaking it for their target.

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In all, eighty-six children and thirteen adults, mostly nuns, were killed. Separately, over fifty Gestapo members were killed in the attack on the headquarters, along with dozens of Danish workers and several prisoners of the Gestapo. Memorials now stand to the children killed as well as the Danish resistance members.Mindesten_for_den_Franske_Skole_(2_af_2)

All fourteen prisoners in the Southern wing of the Shell House survived as this part of the building was not bombed.Shellhuset_210345

The three remaining prisoners were under interrogation on the 5th floor, one of whom died. 18 out of 26 prisoners survived the bomb raid. A total of 133 Danes died during and after the raid. Telegrams from Copenhagen modstandsbevægelse (Resistance Movement) thanked the RAF for the successful raid, and with the destruction of the Gestapo archives the threat against its members was neutralised..

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Alderney camps-Nazi Concentration camps in Great Britain.

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The Alderney camps were prison camps built and operated by Nazi Germany during its World War II occupation of the Channel Islands. The Channel Islands was the only part of the British Isles to be occupied.

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The Nazis built four camps on Alderney. The Nazi Organisation Todt (OT) operated each subcamp and used forced labour to build fortifications in Alderney including bunkers, gun emplacements, air-raid shelters, tunnels and concrete fortifications.

The camps commenced operating in January 1942. They were named after the Frisian Islands.

Four labour camps were built, which were named after the German islands of Sylt, Borkum, Norderney and Helgoland.

The camps on Alderney were run from the Neuengamme concentration camp in German Anton Yezhel is one of the few forced workers who was sent to Alderney to have been pictured. Sadly, whether his survived the conditions in unknown.2F743D0F00000578-3363742-image-a-58_1450870271396

Lager Sylt, whose gates still stand today, housed the Jewish prisoners, who were treatment shocked the locals who remained on the Islands under the Nazis.

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Guernsey priest, The Reverend Douglas Ord, saw the prisoners from Sylt arrive in Guernsey in 1944.

He wrote in his diary: ‘Coming down from the harbour was a column of men in rows of five. All were in striped pyjama suits of sorts and their footgear varied from wooden sabots … to pieces of cloth bound round the feet. Others were barefoot.

‘There were more than the 1,000 of them – political prisoners brought away from Alderney. They were shaven-head and in varying degrees of weariness or lameness.

‘Scattered thorough the column among men of sub-human criminal type were others obviously intellectuals, men of superior calibre who had offended the brutal Nazi regime. It tore the heart to see the effects of this systematic and deliberate degradation of human beings.”2F73EA1200000578-3363742-image-a-9_1450342130877

Reverend Ord added: ‘At the head of the column marched five evil-visaged SS men armed with automatic guns. At the rear of the column and along its flanks on both sides and at a distance of about a dozen feet from each other were more of these brutes, similarly armed, and all on alert for any attempt at a break-away. I have never seen such brutality written on human countenances.

‘Occasionally a man would make the ‘V’ sign to us as he went by. All the emotions of pity, sympathy, sorrow, anger and horror surged through us as we watched.

‘All day long the stench of their poor, wretched, unwashed bodies and clothes hung about the route they had followed.’

While there were no gas chambers at Camp Sylt, the way the prisoners were treated led to the deaths of around half of the labourers brought to the island.

Documents compiled by British intelligence services trying to work out what was going on on the Channel Islands at the time laid bare the brutal conditions of life.

One report stated: ‘Too undernourished and exhausted to work efficiently, these men were mercilessly beaten by the German guard and frequently when they were too weak after a beating to stand up, they were clubbed to death or finished off with a knife.’

A report by British intelligence body MI19 said: ‘One such was crucified on the camp gates, naked and in midwinter. The German SS guards threw buckets of cold water over him all night until he was finally dead.

Another was caught by bloodhounds when attempting to stow away to the mainland. He was hanged and then crucified to the same gate. His body was left hanging on the gate for five days as a warning.

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More than 700 camp inmates lost their lives before the camps were closed and the remaining inmates transferred to France in 1944.

After World War II, a court-martial case was prepared against former SS Hauptsturmführer Max List, citing atrocities on Alderney. However, he did not stand trial,and is believed to have lived near Hamburg until his death in the 1980s

 

 

Safekeeping the Flag

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In 1943, the Jewish family Gans was on their way to the train station because Father Josef, Mother Martha and their four children Abraham, Louise, Emma and baby Harry had received a call-up notice.

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After earlier deferments they were ordered, like many other Jews, to report for internment in the Vught Concentration Camp.

The evening before their departure the Gans family said their goodbyes to neighbours they were quite fond of. Josef Gans gave the family’s Dutch flag to Henny, the girl next door, with the words: ‘I’m giving you this flag for safekeeping, until better times. Hang it outside when we return.’ The next day, Henny accompanied them to the station. The steam train with its passenger compartments was already there and waiting.

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The guards slammed the doors shut. Henny threw one last kiss and waved goodbye to her beloved neighbours.

Years later, after hearing that the entire Gans family was murdered in a concentration camp in occupied Poland, Henny donated the flag to the Synagogue in the town of Winterswijk.

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It is not known if there are any relatives of the Gans family still alive

St Patrick’s day in WWII

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Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland.

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While the Republic of Ireland was neutral during WWII, Northern Ireland became an important Allied sea and airbase.And besides that there were a great number of allied soldiers who identified themselves as being Irish through their Irish ancestry. Also there were many Irish who fought during the war, the Irish guards for example were pivotal to many WWII operations.

Below are some pictures of St Patrick’s day celebrations during WWII

While a piper plays, a special rum ration is issued to men of the 2nd Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers to mark St Patrick’s Day in the Anzio bridgehead, Italy, 17 March 1944.

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American soldiers and Irish girls have a friendly chat during a St. Patricks Day Dance and Celebration, March 17, 1942girls

St Patrick’s Day 1944 – General Bernard presenting the shamrock to Major de Longueuil (later awarded the MC). On the Major’s right is Lieutenant Campbell.Lieut General Sir D J Bernard presenting shamrock to 2 RUR St Patricks Day 1944

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Major Basil Donlea MC and Montgomery – Hawick – St Patrick’s Day 17 March 1944Basil Donlea

Jess Barker, Genny Simms, Red Skelton, Edna Skelton, And Buster Keaton During The Cake Cutting Ceremony On St. Patrick ‘s Day At The Hollywood Canteenf76689fe2318c20ad2d036f57f6cdafa

Fifth Avenue was jammed with marchers out in force for the parade on March 17, 1943.This photo shows 49th Street just before passing the reviewing stand at St Patrick’s Cathedral.download

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Nelson’s Pillar, O’Connell Street. Crowds watching St. Patrick’s Day Parade 19404fa2106ca4661156977c8030274b6aa3

 

The Children’s perception of the Holocaust.

Malvina Lowova, who was killed aged 12, drew a family being deported under armed guard while farmers armed with pitchforks threaten them

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Helga Weissova. 13 years old. She tells in this drawing how the Germans forced them to reduce the bunks, with the aim of trying to make the hut appearance less narrow and then cheat the Red Cross inspection. Terezín.helga_1

Edita Pollakova. 9 years old. The deportation train arrives at Terezin. Edita died the October 4th of 1944 at Auschwitz.edita_pollakova

Yehuda Bacon. Being 16 years old he drew this portrait of his father recently gassed and burnt at Auschwitz. The face of his father emerges emaciated through a curtain of smoke.4.0.3P1

“Everyone was hungry” Liana Franklová 10 years old. Terezíneveryone-was-hungry

Helga Weissova. 13 years old. Drawing titled “Terezín arrival”. Helga entered in the concentration field with just 12 years old. She brought a box with paintings and a notebook. She draw more than 100 paintings doing what her father told her: “Paint whatever you see”. Here ended Helga’s childhood. With the responsibility of painting everything she saw and experienced. She was one of the few survivors.helga_4

The Orange dress- The short story of a Jewish family who survived the Holocaust.

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In 1944, a little Jewish girl named Elianne Muller wore this dress made of parachute material – dyed orange – during the Liberation celebration that took place in the village of Neerkant in the Dutch province of Brabant. It went beautifully with her reddish curls. The family Tijssen, Peter and Maria Tijssen had 11 children, who had been hiding the girl, made her this dress for this festive occasion.

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Earlier in the war Elianne spent time in three other hiding places, separated from her parents. Though her father Hein and her mother Rebecca miraculously survived, they completely lost track of their daughter. In 1945 her father placed an appeal in various newspapers describing his daughter’s striking hair colour. The plea was successful: Elianne and her parents were reunited. It was an exception for an entire Jewish family to survive the war.78.-brababants-jurkje

 

It’s time we started honouring real heroes again-Part 2

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The world has gone crazy honouring ‘Heroes’ whose only achievement is being famous for the sake of being famous. It is time to start honouring the real heroes again. The men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we can live in freedom.

Cpl. Patrick Mazzie, who is buried in Netherlands American Cemetery, died April 11, 1945

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1st Lt. Paul Donald Meyer met his wife 2nd Lt. Elaine Gardner Mitchell during World War II. Paul was killed on February 25, 1945, and he’s buried in Netherlands American Cemetery.55 PDM

Sgt. John K Barry, he was a Tail Gunner of B-17G 42-32213 “”Pistol Packin Mama”” plane crashed Near Nordhausen Germany.

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Dorothy J. Burdge was a school teacher before going overseas as a Red Cross worker. She was sent overseas by the Red Cross in September 1943 and served in England and followed the American troops to Normandy, through France and Belgium and finally to Germany. She operated a Red Cross clubmobile with her sister Grace. She was killed in a plane crash in Germany.

Pvt Frederick Bryan Coldicott Oct. 22, 1921, England,Oct. 22, 1944.

He was born in England and came to America with family at age of 3.
He lived in Roseville, Michigan USA. He was married to Elizabeth and left a daughter, Sandra and a Son Frederick.

He recieved the Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge 10233138_123738070160

PFC Aston Hugh Morgan, III,Oct. 3, 1925, USA,Apr. 5, 1945, Germany

From Aston’s obituary in newspaper:
Pfc Aston H. Morgan III
Killed in Germany, April 5, while serving with field artillery of the Ninth Army.
Entered service in Feb 1944.
Trained at Fort Benning, Ga; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Wood, Mo.
Stationed in England, France, and Belgium before joining Ninth Army in Hurtgen Forest.
Graduated from Kingston High School in 1943; member of National Honor Society.
Member of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church (president of Young People’s Society).
Employed by Craftsmen Engravers before entering service.
Grandfather: Dr. Aston H. Morgan.
Father: Mr. Aston H. Morgan Jr, proprietor of Morgan Drug Store, 361 East Market Street, Kingston.

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